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Carers NI launch 'Your Rights in Work' factsheet for Working Carers

22 November 2018

Most people's lives will include at least one episode of caring. Already 1 in 9 in our workforce will be caring for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill. But with the number of carers in Northern Ireland set to increase from 220,000 to over 400,000 in the next 30 years, the proportion of carers in our workforce is also likely to increase significantly.

With fewer young people entering the job market – and in the current economic climate - there has never been a more important time to focus on the benefits of retaining skilled workers rather than incurring the costs of recruiting and retraining new staff. 

Our recent State of Caring survey found:

  • Of those respondents who reported being in full-time paid work (49%), as many as 32% of them are juggling work with providing 50 hours or more of care per
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) reported that they had given up work to provide care, with a further 18% saying that they had reduced their hours of work in order to support the person they care for
  • Over two thirds (36%) said that they work the same hours as they did before they started caring but that their job has been negatively affected by it as a result of tiredness, lateness, or the impact of stress.

Carers’ financial situations are often negatively affected by the impact of caring on their ability to participate in paid work. Across the UK, 2.3 million adults report having given up work to care at some point in their lives and almost 3 million have reduced their working hours. Working carers need a mixture of support, ranging from understanding and flexibility at work to reliable, affordable care services that give them peace of mind that the person they support is being well looked after.

Clare-Anne Magee, Head of Carers NI said:

“We are delighted to be able to produce this factsheet so that those who are struggling to balance work and care are aware of their rights in work and of supports available to them. We also wanted to use this factsheet as a conversation starter for employers who can use some of the practical examples (such as, developing a Carers Policy or a Carer support network) to establish better practice in the workplace for supporting staff who are caring.”

Lesley Johnston, Advice and Information Officer said:

“Our Advice Service is seeing a steady increase in the number of employment related queries, both from carers who want to know about their rights at work and from those who feel that they have no choice but to leave work due to their caring commitments. This factsheet provides vital information about supporting working carers and the options to explore before taking the major step of leaving employment. The aim of the factsheet is to keep carers in work for longer, if they choose to do so”.

Download the factsheet here

To find out more about the benefits of supporting working carers see www.employersforcarers.org

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